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This is a classic, and when you watch a classic you assume it's going to be good. And often they are, except a few hiccups or things that feel dated. But often its "classic" status is doing a lot of the work for your appreciation of it.

But this movie is WOW. It is not still heralded only because of its past accolades. The performances are so powerful that it feels fresh. Both parts and both women are amazing. I alternated throughout thinking "Joan Crawford got the better role...no, Bette Davis got the better role..."

Even though the film runs longer than two hours, it has what so few films today lack--economy. Scenes are not wasted. Every scene moves the plot forward or provides the motivation for a character. But at the same time, points are not belabored. Some things are telegraphed. For example, Baby Jane's vaudeville billing calls her "from Duluth." Nothing is ever said about this, but that small fact telegraphs so much about the family's background and how they respond to Baby Jane's talent/fame. That's just one example of ways the movie telegraphs. Some things were Bette Davis's idea, like how Jane does her makeup, and they're just genius. Again, a small thing that just communicates so much.

It's a real powerhouse. Madness, manipulation, half-truths, cruelty both accidental and calculated.

If it's been on your list for a while but you haven't seen it, watch it.

This is a classic, and when you watch a classic you assume it's going to be good. And often they are, except a few hiccups or things that feel dated. But often its "classic" status is doing a lot of the work for your appreciation of it. But this movie is WOW. It is not still heralded only because of its past accolades. The performances are so powerful that it feels fresh. Both parts and both women are amazing. I alternated throughout thinking "Joan Crawford got the better role...no, Bette Davis got the better role..." Even though the film runs longer than two hours, it has what so few films today lack--economy. Scenes are not wasted. Every scene moves the plot forward or provides the motivation for a character. But at the same time, points are not belabored. Some things are telegraphed. For example, Baby Jane's vaudeville billing calls her "from Duluth." Nothing is ever said about this, but that small fact telegraphs so much about the family's background and how they respond to Baby Jane's talent/fame. That's just one example of ways the movie telegraphs. Some things were Bette Davis's idea, like how Jane does her makeup, and they're just genius. Again, a small thing that just communicates so much. It's a real powerhouse. Madness, manipulation, half-truths, cruelty both accidental and calculated. If it's been on your list for a while but you haven't seen it, watch it.

9 comments

The part where Bette Davis pretends to be Joan Crawford on the phone is so wicked my jaw dropped. And that ending!

Some folks love this movie for the over-the-top camp value. I do love it for that, but I love it for all the reasons you mentioned, too. It hits hard toward the end. "You mean all this time we could have been friends?" (I won't say more to avoid spoiling it for anyone who hasn't watched)

Yes, the ending is perfect. Jane was a spoiled brat, but was she really a BAD person? Was she just driven mad? Everyone acknowledges her growing insanity and alcoholism, that's not just accusations from Blanche. Is Blanche's cool, calm, calculated 25-year manipulation of the truth worse, because it drove Jane mad? It's almost like a Frankenstein story because Blanche made her own monster, who then attacks her.

The Frankenstein comparison just blew my mind. Jane never really got to be her own person. Her parents were the original Dr. Frankensteins during her child-star days. When Jane was at an age where she might have been able to control her own destiny, Blanche's actions made sure that would never happen. And the "creation" turned feral.

Thanks for the reminder. I watched the Feud series on Joan and Bette and have been meaning to watch.

I normally don’t care for older movies but this one is gripping.

I love Baby Jane and it's a really special movie to me personally. My mom showed it to me young, when I was a teenager I showed it to her sister, my favorite aunt, and after my mom died it be became a ritual for us to watch it together and drink a little lord Calvert out of plastic cups. My aunt died before I could mail the special baby Jane mug I had bought for her as a gift, so it's where I now keep my mother's urn. Huge baby Jane fan. I love bette and I love Joan so much in this movie. They are hilarious, savage, simultaneously real and larger than life, and perfect. it remains one of my favorites.

Cool to read about your family's sharing this movie. "simultaneously real and larger than life," yes. There's something about this movie that, even though it's so out there (literally none of us are childhood vaudeville stars) it is so TRUE at the same time. Wild and relatable at the same time. Glad to meet a big fan. This was immediately one of my top 5 favorite movies.